LOST WARHAMMER: OGRES AND TROLLS

This is part of a series on unpublished Warhammer supplements. The first post in the series can be read here.

In 1989-1990 Graeme Davis proposed a sourcebook on ogres and trolls for WFRP. The project seems to have been part of a broader interest in fleshing out the creatures of the Warhammer world at that time, reflected in his other proposals for a vampire sourcebook and De Bestiis Chaotis.

It is tempting to suggest he was inspired by the classic Trollpak (1982) supplement for RuneQuest. Davis has certainly expressed his admiration for it in his blog.

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Trollpak (1982)

Trollpak was an important landmark on the road from viewing monsters as convenient sword fodder to portraying them as realistic parts of a fantasy ecosystem. It provides a comprehensive description of trolls in Glorantha, including their society, culture and even anatomy. Alongside this background information were scenarios and rules for PC trolls.

It is not clear what content Davis intended his sourcebook to contain, but there have been some hints. He posted on his blog a small snippet of background material that was written for the project: a recipe for cooking troll meat. Intriguingly this seems to imply that he might still have a copy of his draft.

Elsewhere he also made the following brief comment describing his draft.

I was handed back a draft of a book I had written – a rules-free sourcebook on Ogre[s] and Trolls in the Warhammer world.

– Graeme Davis, Realm of Chaos 80s

There is a further piece of evidence in Ken Rolston’s editorial comments on his Realms of Divine Magic typescript.

… Graeme has drafted cults for Ogres and Trolls….

– Ken Rolston, Realms of Divine Magic draft

It seems, therefore, that Davis planned a detailed guide to ogre and troll cultures, including their religion, and even wrote a significant amount of content. This apparently did not include any rules, so it seems unlikely he intended to follow Trollpak by including scenarios and information on PC ogres and trolls.

The sourcebook was never completed. Davis has suggested it fell victim to a management paralysis that affected GW in the late 1980s.

Over the three years or so since WFRP was released, the atmosphere at the studio had changed quite considerably. As Bryan was spending more time getting the US side up and running, a layer of middle management had grown up between the creative and executive strata: decisions took longer to make, they were often harder to understand – for me at least – and discussion was strongly discouraged.

I remember one occasion when I was handed back a draft of a book I had written – a rules-free sourcebook on Ogre[s] and Trolls in the Warhammer world – and told to rewrite it. When I whipped out my pad and asked what needed to change, I was told (and this is a direct quote to the best of my recollection) “I’m not going to tell you that. Just rewrite it.” All in all, I had the impression that no one wanted to put their name on any decision in case it turned out that Bryan didn’t like it.

– Graeme Davis, Realm of Chaos 80s

The next ‘Lost Warhammer‘ post can be read here.

Title art by Frank Frazetta. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.

4 thoughts on “LOST WARHAMMER: OGRES AND TROLLS

  1. Souind like the beginning of the long and sorry saga that led to the greenskins becoming nothing but mushrooms on the carpet of WFRP.

    Like

  2. “When I whipped out my pad and asked what needed to change, I was told (and this is a direct quote to the best of my recollection) “I’m not going to tell you that. Just rewrite it.””

    I do so love corporate feedback.

    Like

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